Governor Kate Brown

The Legislature created the Carbon Policy Office in 2018 (HB 5201) to conduct research, analysis, and stakeholder engagement to inform a statewide policy framework to grow Oregon's economy while achieving Oregon's greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Guiding Principles​​

The Carbon Policy Office is charged with investigating how Oregon can achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals while growing its economy. It is intended to engage in research, analysis, and discovery with stakeholders to inform a legislative proposal in the 2019 Legislative Session.

In doing this work, the Carbon Policy Office is guided by the following principles:

A framework to achieve Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction goals while growing the economy should: 

  • Deliver emissions reductions with certainty at the lowest possible cost.
  • Rely on market flexibility.
  • Be rooted in principles of equity; create resilient communities; and protect vulnerable Oregonians, especially low-income families, communities of color, rural communities, and those on the frontlines experiencing disproportionate impacts from climate change and pollution.
  • Support family-wage jobs and local businesses.
  • Invest in workforce development and encourage innovation.
  • Recognize the value of Oregon’s farm, ranch, and forest lands as a critical part of our heritage and economy.
  • Drive investment to rural communities to incentivize carbon sequestration and storage.
  • Leverage regional solutions to grow Oregon’s economy.
  • ​Ensure transparency and accountability in program design and implementation.

Work Plan

The Carbon Policy Office is engaging in research and analysis, conducting discovery with stakeholders, and convening working groups to inform a statewide policy framework for reducing carbon emissions. This work has led to the development of a white paper published on November 28, 2018. See the Oregon Climate Agenda for more information.
HB 5201 allocated funding for research and called out three specific research topics:
Forest carbon sequestration: The Oregon Department of Forestry is leading this effort to establish an inventory of forest carbon stocks and flows in Oregon, evaluate the amount of carbon in wood products, and identify opportunities to enhance forest carbon sequestration and storage. For more information, see this presentation, delivered to the Joint Interim Committee on Carbon Reduction on June 26, 2018 by Department of Forestry Director​ Peter Daugherty.
Emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries (EITEs): The Carbon Policy Office has engaged a contractor, Vivid Economics, to report on “leakage risk"the potential for Oregon emissions-intensive industries to shift industrial investments, operations, and related greenhouse gas emissions to markets where carbon is not regulated. For more information, see this briefing packet from Vivid Economics on the EITE industries report. In December, 2018 a final report on Oregon Sectoral Competitiveness under Carbon Pricing​ was prepared for the Carbon Policy Office by Vivid Economics. 
Economic impact analysis: This study​ from Berkeley Economic Advising and Research (BEAR) models specific policy scenarios that are plausible for Oregon that may be reflected in a legislative proposal for carbon pricing in 2019. Previous studies have modeled the potential economic impacts of a hypothetical carbon pricing program in Oregon. However, specific choices in policy design will determine the actual impacts and opportunities we can anticipate in Oregon.
In addition to the studies above, we anticipate the following white papers to inform our work: 
Implications of Cap-and-Trade for Highway Cost Allocation: As part of the regular Highway Cost Allocation Study that the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) completes every two years, the DAS contractor has completed a white paper explaining the potential interactions among carbon revenues, transportation investments, and the state’s cost-sharing requirements. 
Impacted Communities: The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has prepared a white paper​ to inform understanding of the communities most impacted by climate change.  This study will analyze communities’ vulnerability to adverse health effects of climate change and consider which climate mitigation and adaptation strategies yield the most health co-benefits. In completing this white paper, OHA will summarize existing Oregon research, discussions, and analysis of this issue.
The Carbon Policy Office may conduct additional studies and white papers as need and budget allow.
Our staff is engaged in discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders. 
Working Groups: 
The Carbon Policy Office is convening working groups on several topics: 
Natural and Working Lands Working Group: Led by the Carbon Policy Office with support from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Oregon Department of Forestry, and Oregon Department of Agriculture, this group will examine protocols and initiatives to enhance the carbon storage/sequestration capacity of our natural and working landscapes, with a specific focus on offset protocols and direct investment opportunities.
Low-Income Utility Programs Working Group: Led by Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Public Utility Commission, this group will examine current programs for low-income utility customers and identify needs and opportunities for new or improved programs in light of carbon regulation and changing federal support for low-income programs. For more information, see this inventory​ of the low-income assistance programs offered by the state or utilities related to rate assistance, weatherization, or other upgrades, compiled by Oregon Housing and Community Services.
Emissions-Intensive, Trade-Exposed Industries Technical Advisory Group: This group of representatives of the industries that may meet the criteria of emissions-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) will inform a third-party study of the potential leakage risk of these industries under a statewide carbon policy. The group will examine how other states and jurisdictions have addressed concerns about job loss and competitiveness in these sectors and identify a mechanism to address these sectors’ specific concerns under a statewide carbon program.
Forest Carbon Study Advisory Group:​ This group will advise the Oregon Department of Forestry as it studies the carbon sequestered and stored in Oregon forests. It will also identify opportunities for improved carbon sequestration in Oregon forests. 


Kristen Sheeran, Ph.D.

Greg Alderson​
Deputy Director

Colin McConnaha
Carbon Policy Manager​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​